June 05, 2006
The final report of a comprehensive review of Alberta’s advanced education system has been released. It includes a long-range policy framework for the province’s advanced education system as well as specific recommendations.
The A Learning Alberta steering committee developed the report after gathering input from nearly 3,000 Albertans. Some of the report’s recommendations include:
- Rolling back tuition to the level set prior to the tuition rebates, and limiting future increases to the Consumer Price Index.
- Expanding the number of seats available at Aboriginal colleges and working more closely with these colleges to ensure programs and facilities support quality learning opportunities.
- Expanding and creating scholarships for graduate students.
- Adjusting student loan programs to allow students to receive and earn more money while they are studying.
- Reducing student loan interest rates.
As a first step, government will examine student loans, scholarships, and other forms of student financial assistance to identify areas for improvement.
In addition, government will consult with student groups, faculty associations, institutions, and opposition parties on the new tuition fee policy and the detailed regulations. The discussions will include:
- how tuition increases will be calculated
- which courses and programs will fall under the new policy
- how the policy will apply to programs with differential fees (fees charged in addition to regular tuition fees for higher cost programs and international students)
The consultations will take place through June, and it is expected the new tuition policy — along with an affordability package that addresses all costs students face — will be implemented in September 2007.
Government has covered tuition increases for students at public post-secondary institutions for the past two years, saving them $87 million and allowing time to evaluate and address all of the costs students face in pursuing advanced education.